OPINION: When Mining is Strong, all Australians Win

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Commencements in apprenticeships and traineeships for the mining industry have risen again, as well as an increase in mining jobs on offer.

1,933 Australians started an apprenticeship or traineeship in the March 2021 quarter according to the latest statistics released by National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

This is an increase of over 10 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2020 and is almost double the number of commencements in the same period in 2016.

In 2020 the Australian mining industry committed to creating 5,000 new apprenticeships and the figures recently released confirm the industry is well on the way to meeting this commitment.

More than 3,800 people have started apprenticeships or traineeships since the 2020 commitment.

The March data also shows 794 people completed their courses – a solid increase compared to the 742 completions in March 2020. The MCA expects completions will further strengthen after the Australian government recently announced the $716 million Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program.

The mining industry continues to work hard to upskill our workforce and be an employer of choice.

More than 1,000 apprenticeships will also be created by the mining industry in partnership with the Australian Government through the Mining Skills Organisation Pilot, an initiative the MCA is proud to support.

Apprentices gain skills for life and the demand for skilled workers is forecast to increase, with Australian mining investing billions in adopting the latest technology, to improve safety, productivity and decarbonise.

Apprentices and trainees that choose the mining industry can expect highly paid and secure jobs.

The latest internet job advertisement analysis commissioned by the MCA shows 2,500 more jobs in mining were on offer in the last quarter.

Independent labour market analysis by Qualski shows an additional 16,751 job advertisements identified as being mining related between June 2021 and August 2021, which is an increase from the 14,201 job advertisements identified in the prior quarter (March to May 2021).

This significant increase in mining jobs advertisements was in stark comparison to a decline in jobs advertisements across all industries, attributable to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australian mining has continued to operate through the pandemic, in part due to the Resources Sector National COVID-19 Protocol developed in March 2020, providing highly paid and secure employment to more than 256,000 people. Additionally, the Australian mining industry generated $299 billion of exports revenue in FY21. Mining accounts for around one-third of company tax revenues, which made a big difference to funding essential services and infrastructure during the pandemic. 

There are many pathways for a career in mining and this latest report by Qualski shows the most in demand qualifications for operators are: High Risk Licence: LF – Forklift Truck Operation; Construction Induction Card; Enter and Work in a Confined Space; Work Safely at Heights and High Risk Licence: WP – Boom-type Elevating Work Platform.

With the mining industry committed to providing 5000 new apprenticeships over the next few years that means that 5000 workers in regions will have a trade qualification for life. 

Tania Constable

CEO, Minerals Council of Australia

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